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Trick-Or-Treating: How To Make It Safe

Halloween Party
Photo by Joe Clark/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
An estimated 40 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 will trick-or-treat this Halloween, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Emergency physicians want all of them to enjoy the holiday safely and not experience any Halloween horrors that end up with them in the emergency department. The risk of a child being hit by a car is roughly four times higher on Halloween than any other night of the year, according to the CDC. Other common Halloween injuries include eye injuries from sharp objects and burns from flammable costumes. Emergency physicians recommend that children “trick-or-treat” at organized Halloween festivities, such as local churches, shopping malls or schools, so children are not walking in the dark and it allows constant adult supervision. Here are some other suggestions for a safe and fun Halloween:


Make sure your child stays on the sidewalks as much as possible and obeys all traffic signals.


Discuss the importance of staying together in a group. Require at least one adult to serve as chaperone.


Make sure your child knows the potential dangers from strangers, not accepting rides from strangers or visiting unfamiliar homes or areas.


Avoid costumes that could cause children to trip, such as baggy pants, long hems, high heels and oversized shoes.


Avoid costumes that obstruct the child’s sight or vision.


Avoid masks if possible. If your child must wear one, make sure it is well ventilated.


Make sure costume fabric, wigs and beards are made of flame-resistant materials, such as nylon or polyester.


Keep candlelit Jack-O-Lanterns away from children so they can’t get burned or set on fire.


Make sure costumes are visible at night: avoid dark colors. Add reflective tape to costumes so your child is more visible to motor vehicles.


Make sure you see all of the candy before your child eats it. Avoid candy that is not wrapped in its original wrapper, as well as all fruit.


Take a flashlight while trick-or-treating.


Check accessories such as swords, knives, wands and other pointed objects. Make sure they’re made from flexible materials and have dulled edges.

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